With marijuana being legalized in more and more states, many teens now believe it's safe for them to use. But evidence shows it's not. Make sure you and your kids can separate fact from fiction when it comes to marijuana.
MYTH: It’s safer than alcohol
FACT: Alcohol and marijuana are both associated with serious problems, especially if used by teens and young adults under age 21 – when the brain and body are still rapidly developing.
MYTH: It’s okay to drive while high
FACT: After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of driver’s involved in crashes.
MYTH: It’s not addictive
FACT: Marijuana is the leading cause of substance dependence other than alcohol in the U.S. accounting for over half the 7 million people who are dependent on or abusing a drug.
In fact, approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before the age of 18, the rate of addiction increase to 1 in 6.
MYTH: It’s harmless
FACT: The teen brain is actively developing and often will not be fully developed until the mid 20s. Marijuana use during this period may harm the developing teen brain. Even casual use can lead to permanent structural brain change. IQ points are lost – and cannot be recovered with age.
Marijuana use is also associated with increased risks of: mental illness, heart disease, cancer, lung disease and stroke. Compared to tobacco, marijuana smoke contains three to five times more carcinogens.
Make sure your kids fully understand the risks of using marijuana. Help them make informed decisions about substances that can negatively impact their lives.